Marissa Ahern

Marissa Ahern joined our team in May 2018 as the project manager for WSCAT’s Old Commissary Small Business Incubator Project. As a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS), Marissa has always been passionate about working in her community. She graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor’s in Environmental Design in Architecture from the University of Colorado Boulder. While working with BBT Architects, Marissa was able to work on a number of community projects, including the Warm Springs K-8 Academy. Her interest in housing led to an assignment at the Warm Springs Housing Authority, an internship at HUD’s Office of Native American Program’s in Washington D.C., and inspired her undergraduate thesis, Tribal Housing on The Warm Springs Indian Reservation. During her time as Project Manager Marissa will be completing a Master’s in Community and Economic Development from Penn State University. Marissa’s future plans include using her background in design and community development to work with tribal communities through her business, Native Roots Design, LLC. Having enjoyed her last few years in Boulder, Colorado, Marissa is happy to return home and join in WSCAT’s goal of making a positive impact in the Warm Springs community.

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Duran Bobb

Frederick Duran Bobb, small business financial advisor and co-office manager, began working at WSCAT in July 2018. Duran’s role is to help aspiring and existing business owners develop, improve, and manage their financial systems. He assists businesspeople in keeping their books, including transactions, journal entries, posting, trial balances, worksheets, adjusting journal entries, and in learning other necessary financial tasks to run their businesses. Additionally, he is working as co-office manager to help WSCAT build its long-term organizational capacity in human resource and financial management. Duran has worked most of his life in the media – both in newspaper (The Spilyay Tymoo and The Madras Pioneer) and radio.  He is the founder of WS Rezi-Leaks. In the past, he assisted in gathering history from tribal elders as the Oral History Supervisor within Cultural Resources.  Duran has worked with Kah-Nee-Ta Vacation Resort as Auditor in the Accounting Department.  He is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and has attended Heritage College in Toppenish, WA, where he majored in English, as well as COCC for Psychology.  Duran enjoys writing fiction in his free time, as well as teaching people how to knit.  His goal is to become a published author.

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Emily Courtney

Emily Courtney, WSCAT’s arts business & marketing specialist, is a Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs tribal member who began working at WSCAT in June 2018.  Though a WSCAT staff member, Emily’s role is primarily to assist Tananáwit, a new nonprofit arts organization (incorporated in May 2018), to build its capacity and open a new arts store featuring the work of community artists. Emily is working to develop Tananáwit’s financial and personnel policies and to create operating policies and a sustainable staffing plan for the Tananáwit store in the Old Commissary small business incubator, which is scheduled to open in April 2020. She will also develop sales and gallery space within the store and ensure appropriate advertising and signage for the store. Emily has worked for the CTWS for 14 years, including stints at the Early Childhood Education Center, Kah-Nee-Tah Resort and Spa, Indian Head Casino, Children’s Protective Services, and the Museum at Warm Springs. Emily dedicates time and energy to her community by coaching Special Olympics softball, donating her artwork to families fundraising for youth activities in the community, and helping out at bi-annual Museum at Warm Springs special events.

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Nettie Dickson

Nettie Dickson, WSCAT’s IDA program coordinator and tax aide program manager, is a Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS) tribal member.  Nettie has provided training to hundreds of CTWS community members in financial skills, credit repair, asset building, and entrepreneurship since 2010. She recruits participants into WSCAT’s courses, trainings, and programs, and assists IDA clients in staying on track to meet their savings goals.  Nettie is an accredited trainer in First Nations Development Institute’s Building Native Communities financial education curriculum and ONABEN’s Indianpreneurship curriculum, a certified AARP tax aide, and is working to become a certified credit counselor. Between 1984 and 2010, Nettie worked in various capacities with the Warm Springs Early Childhood Daycare Center, Vocational Rehabilitation Department, Tribal Court, and Warm Springs Forest Products.

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Leah Guliasi

Leah Guliasi has been working with WSCAT since August 2015. She serves as WSCAT’s IDA Program Administrator and Artisans’ Co-op Project Manager, assisting community members in opening IDA accounts, co-facilitating trainings, conducting needs assessments, writing grant proposals, running the outdoor market, and assisting in the development of an artisans’ co-op. She is also a certified AARP tax aide and housing counselor. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in 2014 and a Master’s Degree  in Community Development and Planning in 2015, both at Clark University in Worcester, MA. Leah has previously interned at various organizations including assisting the Immigration and Legal Assistance Program at Ascentria Care Alliance and serving as the International Coordinator at Seven Hills Global Outreach. When not at WSCAT, Leah serves as a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor at the Madras Aquatic Center.

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Demus Martinez

Demus Martinez began working with WSCAT in January 2018. He serves as financial counselor, assisting Warm Springs community members in building and repairing their credit and in developing spending and savings strategies to reach short and long-term savings goals. As financial counselor, he also serves as a Pathways Home and Financial Skills for Families instructor, seasonal tax preparer, and occasional IDA provider. Demus is member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and has worked locally in the Warm Springs Tribal Court as a legal advocate for CTWS tribal member clients. He has volunteered for Warm Springs Victims of Crime Services, the Jefferson County Victim Impact Panel, and locally for the Native Aspirations Coalition, focused on preventing youth from engaging in behaviors that are harmful to themselves and others. He is married and owns a home with his wife and kids in Warm Springs. He enjoys salmon fishing on the Columbia River, in the traditional manner passed onto him by his elders. He enjoys teaching this and other skills to his kids and others.  

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Dustin Seyler

Dustin Seyler joined our team in May 2017.  He serves as small business coach, responsible for providing business planning assistance, instruction, and coaching to Warm Springs community members interested in starting or expanding their businesses. As small business coach, he also serves as an Indianpreneurship instructor, and is working to establish a brand new youth chapter of American Indian Business Leaders (AIBL).  In addition, Dustin works to support the Warm Springs Outdoor Market, the Old Commissary Small Business Incubator,  and local projects supporting agricultural entrepreneurship. Dustin is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, a United States Navy veteran, and a board member on the Warm Springs Area Chamber of Commerce (WSACC).  He holds a Bachelors degree in Business Administration with a concentration in leadership, organization, and management from Eastern Oregon University.  His professional experience includes over ten years of retail experience in various industries, internships with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Small Business Administration, and experience managing an oil company with 100 employees.

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Mallory Smith

Mallory Smith, our newest team member, joined WSCAT in September 2018. She is serving a one-year term as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, and works at WSCAT as our community development specialist. Mallory’s role is to build our organizational capacity in various ways, aiding us in promoting economic development on the reservation. Mallory will assist WSCAT in enabling Tananáwit (a 501(c)3 community of Warm Springs Artists) to become self-sufficient, help strengthen the Warm Springs outdoor market, develop a plan to recruit more youth into WSCAT programs, and improve our community outreach processes through web design and YouTube video production. Mallory grew up on the Warm Springs Reservation, attended Portland Community College (PCC), and worked as an educator in Portland for three years. She loves to be outdoors – either hiking, camping, or simply basking herself in mother nature’s beauty. Mallory has a passion for youth causes in the community, and hopes to develop after-school programs and to be an advocate for Native American Youth in many ways.

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Lori Switzler

Lori Switzler, office manager, has been employed with WSCAT since April 2014. Lori takes care of the financial functions such as payroll, accounts payable, budgets, and file management. Along with these duties, she assists the staff with other functions, which include client recruitment, outdoor market setup, and coordinating summer youth tasks. She began working as a tax preparer with WSCAT’s AARP tax aide program in 2014. Lori previously worked with the Warm Springs Finance department for 15 years, and was also the office manager for the Warm Springs Social Services department for 2 years. Lori is in pursuit of an associate’s degree in business specializing in accounting. Her other passion is learning Kiksht, one of the tribal languages in danger of becoming extinct. Lori has two daughters and three small dogs, all whom live in beautiful Warm Springs.

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Chris Watson

Chris Watson, WSCAT’s executive director, has worked at WSCAT since April 2013.  As executive director, he leads WSCAT’s 10-person staff and works with the WSCAT board, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS) tribal government, and community partners to promote community development on the reservation. He is also responsible for strategic planning, fundraising, reporting, and ensuring proper financial management of the organization. Before coming to Warm Springs, Chris served as a senior analyst at the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) in Washington DC, evaluating nearly 100 community-based projects implemented by Native American tribes and nonprofits, including over 40 economic development projects.  Chris has also served as a consultant, researcher, and evaluator for various U.S. and international NGOs; as a grant proposal writer and project manager at a New Hampshire agricultural education center; as a US Army lieutenant, and as an ESL instructor. He has a bachelor’s degree in history and government from Claremont McKenna College and Master’s degree in sustainable development from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT.  He has worked or studied in Nepal, South Korea, Germany, Guatemala, and Saudi Arabia. He lives in Bend, OR with his wife Hanako and his dog Dewey.

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